Anorak News | Madeleine McCann: Four Newspapers To Pay McCanns Damages

Madeleine McCann: Four Newspapers To Pay McCanns Damages

by | 18th, March 2008

daily-express-mccann11.jpgNEWS is that the Daily and Sunday Express and sister papers the Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday will pay a “substantial” sum and print front-page apologies to Kate and Gerry McCann, parents to Madeleine McCann.

This story was broken by Anorak.

Kate and Gerry McCann’s lawyers says that some of the newspapers’ articles were “grossly defamatory”.

All damages will be donated to the Find Madeleine fund.

The Daily Express is to carry a full front-page apology in Wednesday’s paper, while the Star’s apology will take over half its front-page. The papers are expected to apologise for suggesting Kate and Gerry McCann were involved in their daughter’s disappearance. The action relates to more than a hundred stories across the four titles, including 42 printed in the Daily Express.

Says Roy Greenslade:

“I think this is an amazing stand-down, u-turn, by the Express newspapers. I think when people realise that more than 100 stories have been complained about as being grossly defamatory, it will annihilate the Express’ readers sense of trust and credibility in their newspaper.”

THE GUARDIAN: “Express and Star apologies to McCanns bring all journalism into disrepute”

Five days ago, when it emerged that the group had removed all its McCann stories from its websites, I gave some examples of the tendentious, and often mendacious, material the Daily Express had been running. Over the weeks and months since May last year, when Madeleine vanished in Portugal, they added up to a substantial libel on the McCanns.

Five days… Sureley longer than that, Mr Greenslade. February 22nd.

This was no journalistic accident, but a sustained campaign of vitriol against a grief-stricken family. The stories were not merely speculative, but laced with innuendo which continually made accusations against the McCanns on the basis of anonymous sources and without any hard evidence.


Wild claims, often made by unattributed sources to Portuguese newspapers, were then spun even more negatively by the Express and Star titles. Of course, they were not the only papers to carry prejudicial material, but they were by far the worst.

I am delighted that the papers, owned by the pornographer Richard Desmond, have been forced to humble themselves. I only wish the McCanns had acted even faster, but no blame should attach to them. Their major concern has, quite naturally, centred on their missing daughter.

A single fact: Madeleine McCann is missing. And speculation, sensation and innuendo. Anorak has followed the case from the outset – a voracious media feeding frenzy.

But, taking into account that other papers have also carried inaccurate and inappropriate stories about the story, it is also a day in which many British journalists have cause to hang their heads in shame.

But it goes on still…

Did the Express titles go to such lengths, eschewing all ethical standards, purely to win sales? If they did, it didn’t show up in their circulation figures because all four titles have lost sales over the past nine months. Or was it, as I suspect, less calculating, a case of casual cruelty rather than premeditated sales-building? It’s hard to know which is worse.

The disappearance of Madeleine McCann

Posted: 18th, March 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids Comments (79) | TrackBack | Permalink